Jury deliberations will begin Monday in the trial of Anderson Ryan Ince, the man accused of stealing and laundering $1.118 million belonging to the Psychiatric Hospital.
Today, lead prosecutor Acting Director of Public Prosecutions Donna Babb-Agard, QC, and Anderson Ryan Ince’s lead defence attorney Steve Gollop gave closing arguments in the trial, which spanned almost three weeks and heard evidence from 49 witnesses.
It is alleged that sometime between August 1, 2003 and August 1, 2005, Ince stole the money, belonging to the Black Rock, St Michael institution which was vested with the Central Bank. He is also accused of laundering the funds.
Babb-Agard argued that the accused man who denied the charges and is currently on $100 000 bail “is a bad apple in the Government Service”.
She submitted that Ince took advantage of his friendships with his work colleagues, the women in his life and friends outside his workplace.
“He did the Government Service of Barbados an injustice . . . . He used the Accounts Department at the Psychiatric Hospital as his personal piggy bank,” the country’s top prosecutor said.
She further argued that Ince looked for opportunities and loopholes in the system in which he worked and “used his computer savvy . . . and raped the Government system of Barbados”.
She reminded the nine-member jury that Ince was a clerk at the mental hospital, taking home a monthly net salary of $1, 018. 54.
However, she said he was able to purchase two cars – a Toyota Platz and a Corolla – within a short space of time when he “ain’t got a licence to drive it”, as well as jewellery from Colombian Emeralds International.
Babb-Agard said although there was talk that Ince had received an inheritance, the things he purchased had surpassed those means.
“There is over $1 million that has been stolen from the Government of Barbados. You know how much income tax that could pay?” she queried.
She pointed out that Anthony Nurse, who had 42 of 44 Government cheques made payable to him, was not called to the witness stand “for a reason”.
She urged the jury in her more than hour-long closing statements to find the accused man guilty of theft and money laundering.
Gollop, on the other hand, told them “we don’t convict people on gossip and hearsay and say so”.
“Ignore the distractions. Don’t think that a working-class man can’t afford those things by saving,” he submitted.
He charged that investigations into the case were flawed as officers were unable to get Nurse to whom most of cheques were written and cashed, back to Barbados.
“Nurse left the country and went to Guyana and can’t be found . . . . No record in the court that there was any attempt to get the police in Guyana . . . to extradite him,” Gollop said, adding that neither officers nor the Crown could prove a link between the “infamous and missing Anthony Nurse” apart from the fact that he and Ince worked at the hospital.
He also argued that his client did not have the level of security clearance to get the alleged stolen funds and neither was there any cheque written to or deposited into Ince’s account.
“Bring the evidence, bring the hard objective, empirical evidence. . . . Ignore the distractions . . . . There are too many gaps in this evidence [for] you [to] feel sure this man is guilty; that you can feel sure that he carry ‘way a million dollars,” he added.
Gollop also claimed that his client would have to either be Houdini or David Copperfield to commit the crime of which he is accused.
“If you cannot by the evidence [presented] in this court show that he had any connection with BDS$1.118 million, you have to acquit him,” he said, urging the jury to assess the evidence carefully.
Madam Justice Michelle Weekes will make her summation of the case on October 16 before the jury deliberates the verdict.